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Pseudonym: Starke

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William B. Starke was a pseudonym for General Walter Bedell Smith, Director of Central Intelligence from October 7, 1950 to February 9, 1953; Under Secretary of State, February 9, 1953 to October 1, 1954.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: Persons and Pseudonyms

Pages XX-XXi: ..."Smith, General Walter Bedell (Starke), Director of Central Intelligence from October 7, 1950; Under Secretary of State February 9, 1953-October 1, 1954...Starke, pseudonym for General Walter Bedell Smith..."


02/11/52: Cable from Withheld to CSO/OPC: "1. Air attaché sought list of and info concerning leading Communists from Andrew F. Merton 7 Feb to be given to person who could not be named but who high up (REDACTION) and air attaché HQs. (REDACTION) in absence (REDACTION) advised by Merton on my instructions info could not be furnished. 2. In strictest confidence identity 1 (REDACTION) advised Merton info to be used allegedly in proposed conversation by (REDACTION) with William B. Starke re proposed plan overthrow government WSBURNT (Guatemala); Identity 1 states Identity 2 has discussed with (REDACTION) proposed setting up intelligence organization within Identity 3 to be possibly headed by Identity 2 (allegedly due retire soon); that Identity 2 put (REDACTION) in contact with Identity 4 and Identity 4 subsequently told Identity 1 every cooperation should be given (REDACTION): that Identity 4 had letter from Identity 3 re (REDACTION). 3. After receipt of ref, (REDACTION) advised by Merton on my instructions (REDACTION) not connected with (REDACTION) but with Readers Digest..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 72. 11/25/53-Contact Report

11/25/53: Contact Report: Place: King's office: Persons Present: J. C. King (2 names withheld): Cover Used: None. "Discussions: 1. A serious impasse was described by JC as having developed within the State Dept. as a result of the Under [Assistant] Secretary of State Cabot having been kept out of the PBSUCCESS picture. Apparently Cabot, desiring to see that something is done in Guatemala, has demanded a briefing from CIA as to what its plans are and what its current activities are, as Cabot wanted to organize a program to attack the problem. In particular, he planned to call a meeting of all coffee buyers to determine what could be done in this direction. (2) As Cabot has not been cut in, he has never been officially informed of CIA’s activities but he did evidence knowledge of certain things going on of which he had not been informed. Allen Dulles, in a discussion with JC, agreed to talk to Bedell Smith at noon today regarding the possibility of cutting Cabot in, at least to a limited degree, recognizing that Smith has neither confidence nor personal liking for Cabot. Further, Allen Dulles was to speak to his brother, John Foster Dulles, in an effort to resolve this matter as Cabot insisted upon this briefing taking place on Monday, 30 November, by J.C. King. Accordingly, an effort must be made by Allan Dulles to offset Cabot’s intentions or to obtain approval to cut him in on PBSUCCESS to avoid a clash and possible serious compromise of PBSUCCESS to date..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala Current Section: 124. 4/10/54-Telegram From the Intelligence Agency to the CIA Station in [place not declassified]

04/10/54: Telegram to Withheld CIA Station: "46015. Re: DIR 45998. (2) For SKILLET from Whiting. 1. High level meeting referred to in ref scheduled for this afternoon following which SKILLET will receive further guidance. (3) However in meanwhile Whiting requested by Starke convey to SKILLET following personal message. 'SKILLET should not have any further direct contact with local authorities or other non ODYOKE (U.S. Government) individuals with regard to any aspect of Success except pursuant to and within limits of specific instructions and authorization from HQs ODACID (U.S. State Department) and KUBARK (CIA). Starke very concerned with regard present extent official exposure and considers that this raises serious question desirability continuing operation as previously planned.' 2. In light of the foregoing and without in any way purporting to prejudge outcome of basic policy decision re continuation and timing success Whiting suggests SKILLET may wish consider and offer recommendations concerning best means softening impact local authorities SKILLET’s withdrawal from direct contact. Realize possibility they may interpret such breakoff as evidence complete reversal ODYOKE position regarding all aspects this matter. Also on assumption policy decision may favor continuation project in something like present form recommendations SKILLET and Princep for re-establishment indirect channels communication will be needed for consideration here..."


04/13/54: Cable from Withheld to Director, Lincoln: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: FOR WHITING FROM SKILLET IN REPLY REF A: "1. I have not blown your cover 1 inch beyond situation I found on a arrival which was: A. Every one believed White Paper. B. WSBURNT (Guatemala) generally aware your plans according WSHOOFS (Honduras) sources. C. Has hinted ODYOKE (U.S. Government) backing enough so WSHOOFS understood. 2. Whereas I do not wish enter into arguments re my authority act as have done, if that matter is now in issue, I request Starke and Whiting personally read Ref B, Ref C, and particularly para 3 D of Ref D. Also important will be debriefing Ontrich. 3. Also wish assure Starke and Whiting my contacts made with maximum cutouts available here and without witnesses. In my opinion you are safer today than ever before on defeating accusations of ODYOKE participation..."


06/26/54: Cable from Director to Lincoln (Orig: Allen W. Dulles, Unit: DCI): "1. As we understood that somewhat discouraging reports had reached TEGU and MANA diplomatic representatives here from ODACID (U.S. State Department) sources and had been relayed to Identity A and indirectly reported to us it was arranged this morning that Starke should see Identity A who had been his colleague at Geneva conference and whom we consider stout supporter our activities. Starke gave Identity A strong pep talk to effect that USA while not intervening in internal affairs other countries strongly desired to see Communism destroyed in GUAT and hence desired victory of those forces which were fighting Communism and welcomed any proper support which such liberation forces could receive. He further stressed that victory of Arbenz would mean first long step towards attempt communize all of Central America and was threat to all states that area. 2. We are certain that this message will go promptly to both TEGU and MANA diplomatic representatives here and to their respective principals. Hope this will prove shot in arm which they need (REDACTION) and (REDACTION) can discreetly pass to their respective ambassadors. We endeavoring to get direct message from ODACID confirming above..."


..."Then in 1950, Smith became the Director of Central Intelligence, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies in the United States. Smith reorganized the CIA, redefined its structure and its mission, and he gave it a new sense of purpose. He made the CIA the arm of government primarily responsible for covert operations. He left the CIA in 1953 to become an Under Secretary of State. After retiring from the State Department in 1954, Smith continued to serve the Eisenhower Administration in various posts for several years, until his retirement and his death in 1961...On 7 October 1950, Truman selected Smith as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since the post had been established in 1946, there had been three directors, none of whom had wanted the job...Smith is remembered in the CIA as its first successful Director of Central Intelligence, and one of its most effective, who redefined its structure and mission. The CIA's expansive covert action program remained the responsibility of Frank Wisner's quasi-independent Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), but Smith began to bring OPC under the DCI's control. In early January 1951 he made Allen Dulles the first Deputy Director for Plans (DDP), to supervise both OPC and the CIA's separate espionage organization, the Office of Special Operations (OSO). Not until January 1952 were all intelligence functions consolidated under a Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI). Wisner succeeded Dulles as DDP in August 1951, and it took until August 1952 to merge the OSO and the OPC, each of which had its own culture, methods, and pay scales, into an effective, single directorate...Smith retired from the Army upon leaving the CIA on 9 February 1953..."

Gavin McDonald

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